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Emergency Care: When Is It the Right Choice?
If you're sick or hurt and want help quickly, it may seem like a good idea to go to the emergency room (ER) for care. You may think of the ER as a source of the most immediate medical attention, but if your situation is not a real emergency, this isn't true.
When you go to the ER, you can't take a number and get help according to when you arrived.
Instead of getting quick service, may sit for hours in a crowded waiting room while more urgent cases are seen first. ERs also may be crowded because of staff shortages or because ill patients are waiting for hospital beds to become available. Time isn't the only thing you'll like spend during an ER visit. You likely will have a larger co-pay than you would for a doctor visit, or your ER visit for a nonemergency might not be covered at all.
A wise health consumer
Why do so many people use the ER if they don't really need to? In many cases, it's simply because it's difficult to know what certain symptoms mean, whether it's a throbbing headache, an injured ankle, or a child with a fever. For instance, abdominal pain may be a symptom of many different conditions, ranging from menstrual cramps to appendicitis.
In addition to feeling confused about symptoms, it's natural to feel nervous when illness or injury occurs, making it more difficult to think things through.
Your health care provider is a great source of help for choosing what's right for your situation. Call and describe your symptoms, ask questions, and get information that can help you decide whether you should go to the ER. You may just need to make an appointment to see your provider or use self-care measures at home. Making informed choices will result in better care, and ultimately, save you time and money.
What to expect
If you do go to the ER, be aware that patients are treated in order by the severity of their injury or illness. According to the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), if you arrive by ambulance or are unconscious, you will be taken to a bed immediately for treatment. If someone drives you to the ER, you will stay in the waiting room until the staff determines your condition. A nurse will take your temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, check your symptoms, and find out your medical history. In the exam area, a doctor will examine you and may order tests. If you are seriously ill, you may be admitted to the hospital. If you are sent home, the ER doctor will discuss your diagnosis and treatment plan, the ACEP says.
Needing more care
When you don't recognize or understand symptoms, it's possible to choose too little care. Sometimes, people downplay a valid health issue instead of getting information and treatment for their illness or injury. A person may think that a stomachache will go away, for instance, when it may be a serious condition that should be treated. Any time you have a health concern, don't delay contacting your health care provider.
Here are warning signs of a medical emergency, according to the ACEP:
Chest pain or upper abdominal pain that lasts at least 2 minutes
Sudden or severe pain
Coughing or vomiting blood
Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
Sudden dizziness, weakness, or change in vision
Severe or persistent vomiting or diarrhea
Change in mental status such as confusion
Unusual abdominal pain
Suicidal or homicidal thoughts
Changes in vision
Chronic conditions such as asthma or migraines sometimes flare up and require emergency care. A severe asthma attack, for instance, may be life-threatening if you can't breathe properly. If you have a chronic condition, it's best to work with your health care provider to prevent aggravating a condition. Doing so when you feel well can pay off in the long run. If you do need to go to the ER for your chronic condition, be sure to let your health care provider know.
This modern facility contains 40 treatment rooms equipped with state of the art technology as well as a few luxuries to remind patients of home. Highlights of the Emergency Department include:
Primary Stroke Center Designation
Pediatric Emergency Department
Critical Care Treatment Rooms
Family Quiet Room
Emergency Department Expansion
In May 2011, Broward Health Coral Springs took another leap forward in serving their community. After patiently waiting over a year, local residents may now enter the doors of a truly modern and renovated Emergency Department.
The expansion increased the number of patient beds from 23 to 40 (26 adult beds, 8 pediatric and 6 “fast track” beds). The remodeling also included an upgrade to the most state-of-the-art, life-saving medical equipment available. In addition, exam rooms have been designed with a patient’s comfort and privacy in mind. All rooms are private, each with their own telephone and television. The expansion at Broward Health Coral Springs includes "fast track" beds designed specifically to treat patients with low-risk emergencies. This will help decrease the amount of time they spend in the Emergency Department.
Our Pediatric Emergency Department
Voted “Best Pediatric ER in Broward County” by the readers of South Florida Parenting, you can rest assured that we are prepared for your child’s emergencies. Our new ER provides a specialized setting for children and their families, a place to relax in an otherwise stressful place. With 8 designated exam rooms, ER for Kids is staffed with pediatricians and pediatric nurses 24 hours a day.
Upon arrival, children are quickly assessed and sent to the pediatric area. A full complement of medical and surgical consultative services is available, and our staff communicates with your pediatrician to coordinate follow-up care.
About Our Staff
The Broward Health Coral Springs Emergency Department is staffed by board-certified emergency medicine physicians, registered nurses, and a team of multidisciplinary specialists. They are prepared to care for emergencies 24 hours a day.
In both 2010 and 2011, Broward Health Coral Springs proudly received the South Florida Kids Crown Award for the “Best Pediatric ER in Broward County". The recognition was based on votes from readers of South Florida Parenting magazine who vote for family-friendly places that offer the best activities, products, and services in South Florida.
Emergency Department Process
There's no such thing as a calm visit to the Emergency Department. However, we believe that keeping patients informed and aware is the best way to reduce their stress. If you or someone you know would like to learn more about the Emergency Department at Broward Health Coral Springs, or if you have questions regarding visitor and patient information, please see our page on the Emergency Department Process.